Finding your professional tribe in IT – Episode 62

Matt Simmons, @StandaloneSA
Matt Simmons, @StandaloneSA

This week we spoke about IT tribes with Matt Simmons, university sysadmin, blogger, subreddit moderator, and LISA program committee member. How do people pick the IT Tribes they are a part of?



  • Why didn’t Usenix and LISA (Large Installation System Administration) take over the world?
    • “Large Installation” has really changed over the years
    • Enterprise Microsoft vs Unix community divide
  • DevOps on one side, Enterprise/Windows on the other – who does that leave in the middle? Sysadmins
  • Matt was involved in the LISA program committee
  • IT pros tend to become “priests of the machine” and get involved in religious wars. Nobody likes religious was.
  • Why keep the name “sysadmin”? It’s perceived as old-fashioned.
  • The three kinds of cities: Ephesus (old infrastructure stuck in time), Phoenix (new planned city in the desert), Rome (new infrastructure alongside the old). University infrastructures are like run.
  • XKCD #705 on sysadmins: Devotion to Duty
  • Both Matt and next week’s guest Tom talked about how LISA program demonstrates how relevant it is to today’s IT pro: “Just look at the program,” they said. Well, here is the LISA14 Conference Program.
  • Being a Tech Field Day delegate as an entry into other IT tribes and being a connector
  • On picking tribes to be in:
    • Don’t be the smartest person in the room
    • Try different tribes
  • Matt is a moderator of /r/sysadmin
  • John enjoys /r/cableporn
  • John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory
  • Silicon Valley’s Mean Jerk Time scene
  • Matt is looking for networks that are Open, Available, and that try to get things accomplished or try to help people
  • The field of marketing as a whole vs individual marketers
  • The benefits of having a blog
  • If you’re in marketing, don’t send Matt a semi-fake form letter and then get annoyed when he doesn’t reply. Don’t just think bloggers are there to sell your first. What is Matt interested in learning?
  • Matt’s tip for bloggers: Don’t Get Emotional.  You will get negative feedback; don’t respond in a knee-jerk fashion. Don’t take things personally. Try to have a thick skin.
  • Datasaurus Rex t-shirt
  •  More:

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